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Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Posted by carat37 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 11, 13 at 16:57

I divided and replanted my very large snake plant, which was forever ailing in its too wet MG soil, into two pots with gritty mix,

Since that time it's put out some outstanding new growth, much more variegated and healthy looking that the old, curled leaves.

Here's my question: if I cut some of the oldest/tallest leaves from these plants, will that encourage more of the new, healthier growth? If so, how far can I take it? I'm willing to have the plant look bizarre for a while if it can take a hard cutting back.

Here's some photos, where hopefully you can see the diff between the new and old growth:

 photo C360_2013-09-11-16-44-13-090_zps7dc88ffa.jpg

 photo C360_2013-09-11-16-44-55-915_zps696cd028.jpg

 photo C360_2013-09-11-16-45-15-504_zps4fd83b4d.jpg

Thanks,
Tara


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

the gritty mix does not make them variegated - all new growth comes out like that in any soil, then slowly it darkens. but obviously they liked the repot and started growing. since there are no nutrients in gritty - you'll need to give them reg fertilizer. if you go to sansevieria forum - you can find many posts about it.
I can see that some of your older leaves have very thin 'necks' - that is due to low light. if you can give your plants better light in west/east window the whole leaf will be much 'fatter' with strong wide lower part.


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

oh, and do not cut off the old leaves yet. you need much more new growth before you do that. yes, you can shorten or even cut off the old leaves eventually. but first the plant needs to grow a good amt of new leaves.


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Hello!
I would remove only one or two of the worst leaves at a time, leaving the others to maintain vitality (as Petrushka mentioned). I re-potted my 'Bantel's Sensation' earlier this year, and the growth has been excellent. Warmth and regular fertilizer will keep your Sans. in fine shape.

Josh


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Ah ha. Thanks for the tips. I was wondering about the thin necked leaves, esp. since the roots looked so healthy when I repotted. I think my first remedy will be to regularly fertilize when watering. This plant has had none in 4 years other than what was originally in the potting mix. I somehow never realized that keeping plants alive with sun and water wasn't my only job :)

I think its light source may be sufficient, but I'll keep that in mind if the new media and fertilizer make no difference.

What happens if I put it outside for the summer but then bring it back to this spot when it gets cold? Is it better to have consistent light year round or to get as much light as possible in growing season?


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

I put mine outdoors during the Summer so that it can regain as much vitality as possible before the gloomy months indoors. A lot of Sans. growers do the same.

Josh


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Wait befor you fertilize, most of us don't or use very little. Wait till spring growing season comes. You can place it out side but not in direct sun all day. A little is ok. You stand the risk of burning. Brown spots forming on the leaves. Your Sans looks very nice to me already. New growth is always nice to look at but it soon turns dark and more plain.
Stush


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

but she put it in gritty - she'll have to give it some feed, especially while growing?
i don't use gritty and i give it cactus fert occasionally - very low on N, like 2. especially in summer, when outside and in active growth.


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

unless you are using grow lights, it is not receiving consistent light all year. it still goes up and down with the seasons. if you are using lights, there is still no substitute for the sun.


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Stush,
as Petrushka mentioned, this plant is in Gritty Mix and receiving zero nutrients from the media. That means year-round fertilization, though certainly a more diluted dose during the Winter. Any delay in fertilization will mean lost growth potential.

Josh


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Josh,
In my cold neck of the woods, I don't fertilize at all till spring. But if kept warm and good lighting, well that's a different thing. You got good luck with your plants so maybe so.
Remember P.G. grew her's in pure water with suscess. There is always some nutrients in water unless your using disstilled.
Stush


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Stush, it's more about the lack of nutrients in the mix, and the particular mix - in this case, Gritty. The Gritty Mix is watered thoroughly, even during the Winter, and this further flushes any salts that might accumulate. When growing in a heavy, peaty soil, one must water in sips during the Winter, and that quickly leads to accumulated salts. With Gritty Mix, the entire culture changes.

Josh


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

So this lively discussion seems to half-answer another question I've had as I've repotted most things into the gritty mix:

Do I use the foliage pro in the water when the houseplants seem basically dormant late fall and winter? At a reduced strength? (What strength in that case? :)

My indoor plants will basically fall into three categories:

1) Cold-tolerant/high-to-med light loving in my south facing sun room with tons of windows but crappy insulation (yucca, cacti/succulents/jade, jasmine)

2) Tropicals that can't be away from 60-85 degree weather in various windows, hopefully with supplemental grow lights and added humidity (purple velvet, goldfish, rubber tree, dwarf schefflera, crotons)

3) Less picky 60-85 degree plants that don't need heaps of light in northern or very filtered southern windows and can manage with the humidity of a pebble tray if required (heart-leaf philo, pothos, spider plant, some sans maybe)

So fertilization probably depends not just on variety, but location I imagine??

-Tara


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Hi Tara,

Fertilizer also depends on if the plant is actively growing. If not, I wouldn't fertilize until it is.

I'm one of the folks who doesn't fertilize their succulent (esp. Sans) much, but I don't use gritty mix either. (I am the P.G. referred to as the person who successfully grows Sans. in plain water, see the Sans. forum for pix.)


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 17:51

Tara - the potential harm in fertilizing in winter centers around the assumption you're using a typical 'off the shelf' potting mix, like Miracle-Gro and others similar. These soils force you to water in sips or risk the root rot and inhibited root function that comes with watering profusely. These soils almost ensure that soluble salts will accumulate and be an ongoing issue.

For the purposes of this discussion, you can almost say there is never any problem having an appropriate amount of all the essential elements in the soil solution at all times, including during the winter. The problem is, there is hardly a reasonable way to maintain an appropriate level of fertility during the winter, or summer for that matter, if you can't flush the soil regularly. With the gritty mix, that becomes a non issue, because the gritty mix is structured specifically to allow you to flush the soil at will, with no unwanted repercussions, even in the winter.

I fertilize all winter long, every time I water - have been for years and years. It works very well. I flush the soil by making sure at least 15-20% of the total volume of fertigation water applied exits the drain, carrying salt accumulations with the effluent.

Use your plant to tell you when it needs fertilizer. Plants growing well use water faster than plants not growing well, so plants watered more frequently will also get more fertilizer. In that regard, the system is pretty much self-regulating. I use 1/4 tsp of 9-3-6/gallon of water, all winter long. Try less if you want, but if you're using the gritty mix I can assure you you'll be happier if you do fertilize regularly during the winter than if you simply suspend supplementation altogether.

Best luck!

Al


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Al:

Thank you!! That makes perfect sense. I'm already seeing how some plants in the same spot and even same type of pot use water differently in the gritty mix than their "peers." I think I've been fertilizing too heavily though, adding closer to 1/2 tsp per gallon. However, so much of it seems to pour straight through the bottom of the pot---it doesn't appear to have done any harm, It will def. save me money to scale it back, at least for the winter, though!

I'm going to have to do a volume experiment sometime. Either I'm watering too frequently, or I put way too many drainage holes in the bottom of my pots. I feel like the mix soaks up less than 30% of what I pour into it. I've started watering the pots while they are in a small tub, using a turkey baster to re-water with what pours out the bottom. I thought maybe the water was traveling at too fast a velocity to be fully absorbed.

Is it OK that once the pot seems to be done dripping in its upright position I tilt it to one side then the other to drain even more water? I thought I read that there shouldn't be much "standing" water at all left in the pot except what is absorbed by the bark and DE (turface) or clinging to the granite.

Also, I think I remember you saying you rarely water root cuttings before planting them up. In that scenario, would you plant straight into gritty mix? It seems like some things I water root and put straight into gritty have a hard time adjusting. My plan is to try putting them in the 5-1-1 at first on my next round of cuttings. I know they're going to outgrow their pots pretty soon anyway.

Full of questions,
Tara


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Tara,
1/2 teaspoon per gallon isn't too much during the prime growing season. Many of my houseplants get a full teaspoon per gallon all Summer long.

Josh


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 22:27

When all my plants are outdoors and temps favorable, I use 2 tsp of 9-3-6 per gallon and try to fertigate weekly. During the winter, as noted, I use 1/4 tsp every time I water.

The physical properties of the gritty mix vary considerably according to how the mix is made and what ingredients are chosen. Particle size is important, and we like to keep the inorganic fraction as close to 1/10-1/8" as possible, with the bark being a little larger, maybe 1/8-1/4" to allow for some decomposition over the life of the soil. The number of drain holes in a pot has no impact on water retention or aeration, and an insignificant effect on drainage rates. In the gritty mix, if you have 1 - 1/4 inch hole vs 100, it might only make a difference of a few seconds in how quickly the soil reaches container capacity, which is the state of the soil at the point it has just stopped draining after being watered thoroughly. What determines aeration and rate of drainage is particle size - realistically speaking. How much water your soil retains depends a lot on how large the particles are, so if they're too large to be ideal, your soil won't absorb nearly as much water as a soil with smaller particles. That isn't a bad thing from the plant's perspective, because it loves a well-aerated home for its roots. It just means you need to water more frequently than if the particle size was closer to ideal.

I'm not sure I fully understand your question about the rooted cuttings.

Al


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Hey, Al! Excellent posts.
Do you fertilize your succulents, Jade (Crassula ovata) for instance, at that same rate? I'd like to coax more growth from my Jades, but I've been hesitant to go above 1 teaspoon.

Josh


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

I realized after I submitted that last part was confusing. When I propagate by stem cuttings I put the newly cut stems in water until they have a fair bit of root activity. (Not succulents) My aunt taught me that method when I was a kid and old habits die hard :)

So recently, I tried planting stem cuttings with water roots into small pots of gritty mix. It seems to be a shock for them, although some recover after a few days. Others die pretty quickly or fail to put on any new growth.

I seem to remember you tend to immediately put stem cuttings into some kind of medium rather than water root them first. I was wondering if you use gritty mix or something else more temporary?


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

I realized after I submitted that last part was confusing. When I propagate by stem cuttings I put the newly cut stems in water until they have a fair bit of root activity. (Not succulents) My aunt taught me that method when I was a kid and old habits die hard :)

So recently, I tried planting stem cuttings with water roots into small pots of gritty mix. It seems to be a shock for them, although some recover after a few days. Others die pretty quickly or fail to put on any new growth.

I seem to remember you tend to immediately put stem cuttings into some kind of medium rather than water root them first. I was wondering if you use gritty mix or something else more temporary?


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RE: Reviving Sans after Repot into Gritty Mix

Cuttings often go into very small containers, and if we are dealing with gritty mix, it's very hard to keep small containers properly watered. You have to water way too often for most people, or put the pots into a very humid environment till the cuttings are well-rooted. You COULD root into something other than gritty mix the plants will be growing in as adults - it could be water, perlite or a perlite-based mix, whatever), but then the plant has to deal with the shock of being transplanted into a very different medium if you want gritty for them. I do not have lots of experience, but even theoretically it does not sound appealing to me at all to do this when the plant needs all its energy to grow, not to adjust to the new medium. Remember your last house move - was that a fun experience? Exactly. So, I do the next best thing I know to minimize medium changes - the rubbermaid greenhouse thing I've learned on these forums. I put mine on a heating pad as I'd like to crank the temp up a bit. Humidity inside is really easy to maintain at any constantly high level, so then gritty mix is not a problem in small containers. I find watering does not need to be done till day 6 or so in gritty mix because of the high humidity. It works well for me and the cuttings. 11 of 12 different hoya cuttings have rooted by the end of week 3, and the last one is doing fine above ground, just taking its time underneath, I guess. 22 more cuttings are coming this week, so I'll have a bigger statistical sample soon. :-)

Then when they are well rooted, gradually peel back the plastic cover like an inch a day or whatever and start treating them like adult plants, and that is all the change the plants have to deal with - much less drastic than repotting, and easier for you, too.

Even when you do need to repot, plants barely blink when the type of medium is not changed.

Speaking of gritty mix in small containers - I would not use those for plants with roots either, except maybe cacti/succulents - those may be fine. I just can't water that often and a couple of plants are really struggling with me in those situations while absolute majority of my other plants love gritty mix. Some notable exceptions are most calatheas, alocasia poly and tradescantias (zebrina and spathacea) - all of those love constantly moist medium, which looks like I cannot provide in gritty mix (I kind of draw the line at watering every three days).

It's a fun experience learning all these things practically, and I hope it helps.


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